John A. Thomson

John A. Thomson received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied with Richard Strange and Philip Catelinet. While completing course work towards a PhD in Music Education at Northwestern University, he served for two years as a Teaching Assistant in both the Departments of Conducting and Performing Organizations and Music Education, where he studied with John Paynter and Bennett Reimer.

Mr. Thomson was the Director of Bands at East Allegheny High School near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1967 to 1981. Under his direction, East Allegheny bands presented feature performances at the 1976 Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinic, the 1975 Music Educators National Conference Eastern Regional Meeting, two Mid-East Instrumental Music Conferences in 1973 and 1977, and three Pennsylvania Music Educators Association Conferences in 1970, 1975 and 1980.

From 1982 to 2007, Mr. Thomson was Director of Bands at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois. In 1984, the wind ensemble completed a successful concert tour of Switzerland, Germany and Holland. He conducted a New Trier Honor Band on a concert tour of Hawaii and Australia in 1998. Under his direction, New Trier wind ensembles have performed at the l990 Western Illinois University Band “Showcase”, the l989, l993, 1998 and 2007 Illinois Music Educators Association All-State Conferences, the l985 and l990 Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Clinics, the 1994 Music Educators National Conference National Biennial In-Service Conference, the 1996 Atlanta International Band and Orchestra Conference, the 1999, 2000 and 2001 Superstate Festivals at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and the 2003 Chicagoland “Invitational” Band Festival. The wind ensemble received the Downbeat Magazine Award for best classical instrumental ensemble (band) in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004. For twenty-three summers, he was a conductor at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lake, Michigan, and has conducted the Blue Lake International Symphonic Band in Europe.

Currently, Mr. Thomson is a Consulting Editor and New Music Reviewer for THE INSTRUMENTALIST Magazine and is active as a clinician, guest conductor and adjudicator. He observes student teachers for Northwestern University and serves as an adjunct faculty at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Personal awards include several National Band Association Citations of Excellence, the American School Band Directors Association Stanbury Award, the Mr. Holland’s Opus Award (sponsored by Bob Rogers Travel), the Chicagoland Outstanding Music Educator Award (sponsored by Quinlin & Fabish Music Company), the Phi Beta Mu Outstanding Bandmaster Award and the Phi Beta Mu Illinois Band Directors Hall of Fame at Northwestern University.

Professional affiliations include the American Bandmasters Association, National Band Association (Revelli Composition Award Committee), American School Band Directors Association, Music Educators National Conference, Illinois Music Educators Association, International Association of Jazz Educators, Phi Beta Mu, and Phi Mu Alpha.

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